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13 cities to bid adieu to Maruti 800 from April 1

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, Feb. 12

Come April, the iconic Maruti 800 model will not be available in several cities across the country.

With the new emission laws, which require all automakers to upgrade the engines of cars sold in the top 13 cities to Bharat Stage IV levels, coming into force from April 1, Maruti Suzuki has said that it has no intention of making the Maruti 800 compliant with the new standards. Speaking at the sidelines of an HR Conclave organised by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, Mr R. C. Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki, said, "The M800 is not compliant with BS IV and I don't think we have any intentions of making it compliant either. It'll go out of 13 cities beginning April. At the moment, we don't have a position on a complete phase out plan."

The cities where the 800 model will cease to be available when the new emission norms are introduced include Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Bangalore, Kanpur, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.

Alto is replacement

Asked if the company would replace the 800 with a new model, Mr Bhargava said that after its production is stopped, the entry-level car from Maruti's stable would be the Alto.

"There's no plan of replacing the M800 with any other new model. We're not bringing any new model to replace the car. If the 800 goes out totally, the Alto will be the cheapest car which we will offer," he said. The 800 has not been doing too well in terms of sales either.

In April-January 2009-10, the company sold 27,088 units of the car, a 37 per cent drop over the corresponding previous period.

Currently, in the Capital, the 800 model is priced between Rs 1.85 lakh and Rs 2.21 lakh.

Commenting on the future plans of the company, Mr Bhargava said that the growth prediction of 10-11 per cent for the next fiscal will remain.

"We have not yet announced our budget - in terms of volumes and turnover - for the next year. We are cautiously optimistic about growth continuing. Today, to make a firm prediction about growth for the next 12 months, is very difficult, because we do not know about commodity prices, interest rates and if the stimulus would be rolled back," he said.

roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 13, 2010)
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